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BANGKOK 23 February 2019 06:49
rooster59

REPORT: Let’s nail down SMOG CAUSES

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REPORT: Let’s nail down SMOG CAUSES

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM 
THE NATION WEEKEND

 

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THERE ARE MULTIPLE SOURCES OF BANGKOK’S ANNUAL STRANGULATION, EXPERTS POINT OUT, AND WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW EACH ONE CONTRIBUTES

 

THE SMOG that’s been gagging Bangkok is a combination of multiple elements and understanding each one is crucial to finding a long-term solution, say experts.

 

The capital has been blanketed much of the time in a dense smog of fine dust particles known as PM2.5 since the New Year began, posing a threat to public health as well as to city tourism and the economy. 

 

Chulalongkorn University and Greenpeace have cited as the main causes vehicle exhaust, emissions from small-scale power plants and factories, open burning and climate factors.

 

They stressed that a full understanding of each pollution source and its relation to the overall situation is essential in devising long-term mitigation measures and ending the annual winter cycle of chronic air pollution.

 

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Assoc Professor Sirima Panyametheekul, a lecturer in environmental engineering at Chulalongkorn, said that, even though Bangkok’s pollution comes from diverse sources and no academic study had yet clearly defined them or their relative ratio, there was no doubt that heavy traffic was the main contributor.

 

Sirima pointed out the air quality improved dramatically during the long New Year holiday, when many residents left the city to travel upcountry. As soon as vehicles were again jamming city streets after the holiday, the smog returned.

 

However, she said, the main reason the air quality worsened to a critical level each winter was the weather.

 

“The number of cars on the roads is basically unchanged throughout the year, while the air pollution peaks every January and February. So it can be concluded that calm winds at this time of year help the air pollution accumulate to a very harmful level,” she explained.

 

A boom in the construction of small-scale biomass power plants and waste-to-energy plants across the Central region and the East was another prominent factor, said Kulyos Audomvongseree, director of Chulalongkorn’s Energy Research Institute.

 

“Many people suspect large coal-fired and gas-fired power plants to be the main polluters behind the problem in Bangkok, but my studies indicate otherwise. These large power plants are normally equipped with efficient pollutant-trapping systems, so they emit only relatively small amounts of PM2.5,” Kulyos said.

 

He said the small plants burning solid waste and biomass were actually emitting larger proportions of PM2.5 because they were too small to justify a costly investment in hi-tech pollution filters. Meanwhile the government is promoting development in East and Central Thailand and environmental regulations were weaker for smaller plants, he said.

 

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A man tending to a street food stall wears a protective mask as bad air pollution continues to affect Bangkok. // EPA-EFE PHOTO

 

The Chulalongkorn academics stressed that further studies were needed to clearly identify the sources of Bangkok’s air pollution, saying the most effective way to control pollution was to tackle the problem at its sources.

 

Assoc Professor Manoj Lohatepanont, director of Chulalongkorn’s Transportation Institute, said that, since the climate cannot be controlled, long-term pollution-mitigation strategies involving every stakeholder were required.

 

Manoj suggested that Bangkok authorities create more green areas and encourage walking and bicycling.

 

“We should make our city friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and increase the quality and coverage of our mass-transit system, because walking and biking are the most environmentally friendly ways to get around the city,” he said.

 

“This transition needs a long-term strategy and a strong commitment from the authorities. Lowering the traffic volume would improve the air quality.”

 

Greenpeace Thailand country director Tara Buakamsri said some of the polution afflicting Bangkok was being carried on the wind from Cambodia, so its smog problem was in part an issue of transboundary haze.

 

“Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites have detected a very dense cluster of hotspots from open burning in the north and northeast of Cambodia in recent weeks, and easterly winds carry the smoke straight towards Thailand,” Tara said.

 

“The large-scale burning in the northern Cambodia is closely associated with the very high deforestation rate and rapid expansion of monoculture farming in that region in recent years.”

 

Thailand is this year chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Tara noted, so it has the opportunity to raise the issue and encourage fellow member-states, including Cambodia, to work together on resolving the issue of transboundary pollution.

 

“Asean doesn’t typically consider environmental issues a top priority, but the region is now facing more intense extreme weather and natural disasters, so now is the time for us to take environmental problems seriously,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30362525

 

The Nation: 2019-01-19

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29 minutes ago, NCC1701A said:

too bad she had to say this.

Yes..it is...because as soon as she did it became yet another useless talkfest.

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1 hour ago, rooster59 said:

there was no doubt that heavy traffic was the main contributor

As Bob Dylan sang " A hard rains gonna fall " to get to grips with this with some hardcore solutions .. Check how London went at with first the congestion zone to control traffic entering capital .. then the LEZ to discourage older vehicles by charging them significantly more than newer cleaner running vehicles to enter .. and from April ultra LEZ is even more draconian requiring all diesel powered vehicles to be of latest Euro standards to avoid swingeing charges .. And authority that operate it are without mercy enforcing it via the 000's of CCTV all over the place and their link with the Vehicle registration database .. Try driving in without a permit or without paying and the vehicle gets issued with penalty notices automatically .. and they are equally ruthless collecting penalty charges .. It's main aim when introduced was to cut the amount of traffic entering London to reduce pollution and it works .. Would it work here ? Are the Thai's ready for a sharp change in the way of life here like leaving the Fortuner or Pajero at home and getting public transport as there real sacrifices to be made by society here if they truly want to deal with it .. 

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Another thumbsucking story quoting a bunch of academics who have lots of opinions and virtually no useful, factual information to offer in the article...

 

Unlike that, this is what Greenpeace wrote in their report on Thailand air pollution a year or so back:

 

583952407_PM2.5chartshowingmajorTHsources.jpg.7817117e8b33134876ccd1fea89c4b12.jpg

 

 

Greenpeace 2018 report on PM2.5 in Thai City Rankings.pdf

 

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Civalized lawfull countries work together to improve life ,pollution will continue until ALL THAIS gain a respect for their enviorment and this planet abiding by standards and laws 365 days a year ( 366 on leap years) ..THE END

Edited by mok199

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All these experts never seem to mention other cities around the world and how they solved their air pollution problems.

All they have to do is copy them. No nrw inventions or ideas needed.

The first thing is to be aware of the outside world.

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20 hours ago, NCC1701A said:

the solution for this problem was worked out 44 years ago in Southern California.

 

but first you would have to know where and what Southern California is.

Absolutely. Emissions rules changed the Landscape in SoCal.

 

The bottom line is simple:

1. If it doesnt pass emissions, you cant drive it.

2. No open burning.

 

Unfortunately, if Thailand prohibited and enforced rules against open burning, that probably wouldnt change much.

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21 hours ago, madmen said:

Nothing much will happen until it makes international news and then tourism panic sets in

Feel free to make pictures of the smog and put them online....let's see how long it lasts before the talking is over and action has started.

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19 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

Another thumbsucking story quoting a bunch of academics who have lots of opinions and virtually no useful, factual information to offer in the article...

 

Unlike that, this is what Greenpeace wrote in their report on Thailand air pollution a year or so back:

 

583952407_PM2.5chartshowingmajorTHsources.jpg.7817117e8b33134876ccd1fea89c4b12.jpg

 

 

Greenpeace 2018 report on PM2.5 in Thai City Rankings.pdf

 

Those numbers are for Thailand as a whole. The OP was specifically looking at Bangkok.

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